Whenever one thinks about a motorcycle brand with a global recognition, Harley-Davidson is what comes to the mind. Founded in the early 20th century, the company survived the global economic depression to become a major motorcycle manufacturer. Despite the intense competition from global manufacturers, it is one of the two major motorcycle manufacturers in the US.
Harley-Davidson has been instrumental in making the chopper motorcycle style popular across the world. Here, we’ve listed the three historical motorcycles that were manufactured by the company:
1. Harley-Davidson 11F (1915)
This Harley-Davidson model came with a price of $275 at the time of its introduction. It was relatively inexpensive than 11J. The reason for the higher cost of 11J was its expensive electrical headlight. Harley-Davidson had this replaced with the acetylene-burning headlight when it came up with 11F.
The cost-effectiveness of this motorcycle was a source of great delight for customers. As a result, 11F became the most popular motorcycle in 1915. This particular model of Harley-Davidson had many other important features. Among them was the sliding gear transmission with three different speeds and the oil pump that was mechanically driven.
These features appealed more to the company’s customers than the motorbike’s lower price. If only this model had a 22% power increase, the engine could have increased its power considerably. The sales figures could’ve soared with such power and a relatively lower price.
2. Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (1936)
Before the Second World War and after the economic depression, business was tough everywhere. Indian Motorcycles, the rival company, enjoyed immense popularity at the time owing to their reliable and fast motorcycles. This gave Harley-Davidson some tough competition and they needed an innovative design that could set the company apart.
The best way to achieve this was to improve lubrication in the motorbikes. The sidevalve twins had several limitations and the recirculating oil systems were still quite new. William Harley didn’t want to use the same sidevalve big twins. Being the company’s chief engineer, William Harley worked hard on an entirely new design of overhead valve.
It had great power, but had the problem of oil leaks. For this reason, the company initially didn’t release the bike. Multiple revisions on the design were done until the necessary solutions were found. Eventually, the revisions and tests led to the creation of the unique ‘Knucklehead’. Some of the Harley-Davidson fans consider this motorbike as the best-looking bike that the company has ever created.
3. Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster (1958)
After the immense struggle following the Great Depression, the economy experienced a boom in the 1950s. With high levels of employment, the Americans had a considerable amount of money to spend. The bikers were demanding a better performance from the motorcycles. The dealers of Harley-Davidson were also beginning to get increasingly vocal in their demand for a competent motorbike.
This prompted the company to come up with some impressive improvements with the 1957 Sportster. These improvements included a new overhead valve engine and more top-quality KH parts. Despite such revolutionary improvements, the dealers were still not happy with the company’s offerings.
They went to Walter Davidson again with their demand of bobber fenders and smaller tank. Thus, the new Sportster engine was developed and included in the new design.